Tag Archives: vole removal

Tunnel Trouble

I’m 99% positive there are voles in my lawn; that or aliens that look like voles are creating aimless crop circles into my grass (I wish it was the aliens).  Two weeks ago in between the winter storm breaks, the snow at my house started to melt and I noticed that there were long stretches of dead grass cutting through the green stuff.  It wouldn’t have made me worry except that it was all over the lawn.  In almost any patch I uncovered you could see dead grass, and that was only the beginning.

Within a couple of days of noticing the dry strips, my cat started bringing home dead mice.  Except they weren’t mice, their ears were smaller and tails were shorter, I was a little baffled because I didn’t know what my cat was bringing home!  I figured that the two had to be connected because they showed up around the same time, so I did my research.  It didn’t take that long to solve the mystery, five minutes on Google and I knew: there were voles in my lawn.  I learned a couple of things like voles are attracted to moisture, making them more common in winter and spring months; and that they can carry a deadly virus called the Hauntavirus.

Once I read that last part, I was freaked out.  Not only were these things killing my lawn and gardens, but my cat had already killed and eaten four of them and they could kill us back with some virus!  That’s when I started trying to get rid of them myself,  I bought some poison at an IFA in town and tried my best to apply it to my lawn, but after a week: no luck.  The tunnels were expanding and my cat killed two more, so now I’m looking for a professional.  I haven’t really been able to find anyone with a slogan that says “Got Voles in your Lawn, We Can Help!” (which would be useful), but I’ve called a couple of wildlife technicians and things are looking up; hopefully by the time spring hits for good, they’ll be gone.

Vole Problem


Book club this morning was a huge disaster, thanks to the vole problem I have.  We started book club on the first of January, which seemed like a really great idea to all of us.  We chose the books we want to read for the year, and decided who will be hosting which months.  It all seemed to work perfectly, and I’m getting to know some of my neighbors and their friends better than I would have otherwise.  It’s March, and my turn to host.  I made sure to read the book early, I prepared discussion questions in case there was a lapse in conversation, I got my house all clean and made sure we had enough seating for everyone and things for the kids to do, and I even made refreshments that were mentioned in the book.

But, the snow has melted, and it looks like my yard is covered in ugly cracks, just small ditches criss-crossing all over the lawn.  I worked really hard getting the yard nice last year, so I was looking forward to spring and watching the grass and landscaping turn green and lush.  With the strawberry bushes I’d worked on for a couple of years, I literally was hoping to reap the fruits of my labors.

And, then, the snow melted enough to show me all the damage caused by the vole problem.  Just in time for book club.

As people arrived, I made the mistake of apologizing for the state of my lawn, which brought more attention to it.  Before too long, we were all just talking about different lawn care programs and pests, and I found out I wasn’t the only one in the area with a vole problem.  The voles were destroying the looks of lots of lawns, but killing grass roots along their little trails.  Bulbs weren’t growing into flowers, because something had eaten them during the winter.  And, my strawberry bushes were a mess.  Other people had planted young trees last year that were struggling now, because voles had chewed on tender roots.

It was all very helpful, especially to know I wasn’t the only one with a vole problem.  I even got the contact information for a great company that gets rid of voles.  So, I won’t have to waste the nice Spring days by battling voles instead of planting flowers and putting in new landscaping.  Even still, we barely got to talk about the book.  We didn’t even touch the discussion questions I’d worked so hard to prepare, and people ate the refreshments without even noticing how they related to the themes in the book.

I guess it wasn’t a “huge disaster,” really, if you think about it.  We got together, we had fun and laughed about things, and we helped each other out with the vole problem.  But, I don’t think I’m going to be hosting book club for a while, and I’m really okay with that.

Vole in the House

My landlord says we can’t have any pets, but he seems to be completely okay with a vole in the house, as long as it’s not a pet.  He swears there isn’t a mouse problem or a rat problem, but I started to doubt that when I saw some little brown, black and gray pellets in several different places throughout the house.  They weren’t in the kitchen, thank heavens.  But, I found some little droppings scattered under the bathroom sink, in the garage, and by one of the basement windows.  When I contacted my landlord, he said he’d already taken care of the mouse problem before I moved in.  That was news to me.  I think I would have liked to have known if there had been a problem with rodents living in the house I intended to occupy for the next couple of years.


My personality, though, is such that I can’t just not do something about a problem.  I have to take it on until it’s solved.  It’s the kind of personality trait that drove my mother crazy and made her proud at the same time.  So, I headed to the hardware store, picked up a few mouse traps, and set them around the house near the areas that had the droppings.


I was really surprised by what I caught, though.  It was definitely not a rat.  Nowhere near big enough.  It didn’t really look like a mouse, either.  I mean, it was small, brown and furry.  But, its nose was a lot longer and the face was, just different than a mouse.  So, I took a picture and threw it out, and then re-set the trap.  Then, I looked it up online.  Turns out, I have a vole in the house.  I’ve never seen a vole up close, until today.  I’ve seen the damage a vole does in a yard, though.  But, I was pretty sure they stayed out in the yard.  Chewing through tulip bulbs, the roots of bushes, and making yucky brown trails all over the yard, evidence they’ve successfully killed the grass over their tunnels.


And, now it turns out I actually have a vole in the house.  Well, at least I did.  But, my research shows that, where there’s one vole, there’s many.  I bet the voles just use the little mouse holes left by the mouse population my landlord swears he killed.  While I don’t have any plants or things for them to eat inside, it is warm and dry, and I’m sure looks like a perfect place for a vole to burrow.  I don’t care.  A rodent is a rodent.  Whether it’s a mouse, rat or vole, it needs to be out of my house.  Now, if I can only convince my landlord to call Allstate Animal Control to take care of the voles in my house . . . maybe I should fish the vole out of the trash and show it to him.  Sometimes, a visual aid is the best argument.



Utah County Exterminator

get rid of voles

“Hon, call the Utah County Exterminator, I think we have voles.”

“What?  We have what?”

“Voles, honey, we have voles.”

“I’ve never heard of that.  Do you mean moles?”

“No, haven’t you heard of voles?”

I felt kind of stupid, but I’d never heard of that before in my life.  Growing up, my Dad always did all the yard work.  With four girls, two of whom were fighting at any one time, he somehow always had yard work to do.  As an adult, I suspect it was an excuse to get out of the house for a little bit for some peace and quiet.  We’d never had any vole problems before, that I know of, and when I grew up and lived in apartments, I had zero yard work to do.  So, who could blame me for never hearing about voles?

My husband and I bought our first house almost three years ago, and boy was that a wake-up call.  It was a brand new home, so we put in the yard ourselves.  I’d never dug ditches, raked dirt or laid pipes for a sprinkler system before, but I sure did learn fast.  I’m not the kind of woman who makes her husband do all the outdoor chores, so I learned as I went.  I got to the point where I was proud of my calluses and got so excited when the first grass seeds sprouted.  I actually watched grass grow sometimes, and couldn’t get over how successful I felt making bare land look beautiful.  It cost more money than we really had at the time, and I lost count of the hours we worked out there, but it was worth it.  We ended up with one of the most beautiful lawns in our new subdivision.

So, now, after three years, we had to have the Utah County exterminator come over and get rid of voles, a creature I’d never heard of before.

Winter was coming to an end, and I had been looking forward to watching our lawn green up again for the spring, but I’d noticed trails of dead grass in the yard.  I thought maybe it was a result of letting the thatch build up in some places, but my husband taught me it was these little mouse-like creatures that tunnel under the lawn, chewing up grass roots and flower bulbs and sometimes even chewing the bark off of some trees.  I worried about our trees, since they were still pretty young, but fortunately the damage was mostly limited to the yard and apparently the tulip and daffodil bulbs I planted last fall.  All our work was being damaged by tiny little rodents?!  I just couldn’t bear the thought of spending my spring fighting off rodents instead of planting a garden and putting in some ornamental bushes I had my eyes on.  I agreed with my husband that we had to get the Utah County exterminator in as quickly as possible to get rid of the voles for us.

Get Rid of Voles

I started my day off wondering if I would remember everything we wanted to bring to the park for my daughter’s birthday party, and got sidetracked wondering how to get rid of voles.

My daughter is turning six, and since she has a June birthday, it is a perfect time of the year to host a birthday party outside at a park.  I’m bringing water balloons, several bikes for the kids to ride, water guns, her presents, a soccer ball, a basketball, a kite and a couple of Frisbees for all of her friends and cousins to play with while the adults supervise and talk.  Of course, I can’t forget the cake, the lemonade, the tablecloth, the paper plates and plastic spoons . . . the list goes on and on.

So, I spent the night before writing up a list of all the things I need to remember to bring, and then checking them off as I gathered them together.  The morning of the party, I lugged two huge bags, one of the bikes and a couple of balls out to the car, struggled with the keys, and popped open the trunk to commence packing the car with birthday swag, games and food.  I stopped cold, though, when I looked at my trunk, which was supposed to be empty.

Instead of an empty trunk, I faced a mountain of shredded fabric.  It had once been the felt cover separating the spare tire from everything else, but no more.  Scattered throughout the trunk, all around this pile of destroyed felt, were seeds and small animal droppings.

As I stood there in shock, wondering what on earth this could mean, and trying to keep the birthday items from crashing to the ground, a little creature darted out from within the mound of insulation, ran across the inside of my trunk, across the spare tire, and hid behind the emergency supply of water I keep in there.  I’m proud to say that I kept my cool, and slowly walked back to the front door, where I safely deposited all the items that threatened to fall at any moment.  Birthday party games intact, I walked back to the open trunk and peered again inside, wondering how I was going to get rid of this vole.

Unfortunately, that is when I noticed the hole-like entrance into the vole’s “burrow.”  Taking a breath, I got a little closer, and noticed several tiny little vole babies fast asleep, believing they were completely secure in their home.   Now, it wasn’t just a question of getting rid of one vole, but several voles.

But, I was a mom, and I had a daughter who counted on me to give her a fun birthday party, and I knew I could figure out a way.  I wonder how quickly a vole removal service could get out here . . .

Vole Control

As a vole, I am terrified at any efforts at vole control.  I’ve learned, through watching vole neighbors, brothers and sisters, that most vole control means a swift and sure death for us.  I’m not an adventurous sort.  I have kept a mental list of all the vole extermination methods used, vole traps, vole poison, and everything else, just so I can avoid them.

Some of my cousins, and even some of the local rats and gophers, make fun of me.  They call me a worry-wart, and tell me I’m more likely to die of a heart attack when I hear a loud noise than I will of any vole control method.  That may be true, and they can make fun all they like.  I intend on staying alive.

Some of the more unwise rodents dig tunnels through people’s yards, which is a sure-fire way to attract attention to us.  They end up destroying the grass, creating tunnels that look like brown dead trails on the surface.  Or, they eat flower bulbs that people have planted so carefully, or garden vegetables.  I’m told that people’s yards are beautiful, lush places where the ground is soft from constant watering, roots, flowers and garden plants are tender and juicy, and the people actually keep our natural predators away, as much as they can.  So, there’s not as big a threat from snakes, raccoons or other creatures that prefer a meal of voles rather than a nice juicy mouthful of plant roots.  I’ve noted, however, in my intense observations, that these predators will come anyway, when there is a high population of voles.  Lots of voles equals more determined predators, whether or not people want them there.

So, while I may not enjoy the juicier eatings, dig in the easier dirt, and while I may live a more solitary life, I have stayed alive much longer than most of my compatriots.  In fact, I just located a perfect place to live.  It is in someone’s yard, but it’s far, far away from the home, so I doubt even the household cat will become aware of my presence.  There is a wonderful compost pile right up against a sturdy fence.  A black tarp covers it, so I’m afforded warmth during the winter and protection from rain or snow.  Occasionally, the people will troop back to my pile, pull back the tarp, and dump delicious fresh plants on the top.

It’s hard not to feel superior at times.  I am wise enough to avoid vole control methods employed by the same people who bring me offerings of food and provide me a safe place to live.  If I can make sure they never learn of my existence, I could live a very long and healthy, fat life.

Vole Removal

vole removal

Most people don’t think about vole removal in the middle of the winter, but let me tell you, it’s one of the best times to think about it, at least for us raccoons.  Let’s face it, you take too much care of your yard, and voles spend the winter destroying your hard work.  You don’t know it, but we’re watching during the beautiful, warm months as you sweat in the sun, pruning, cutting, raking, and destroying vole homes, holes and tunnels.  Personally, as a raccoon, I can’t understand why you would waste so much time.  If you just let the grass grow up longer, or left that pile of leaves and sticks alone, you’d have a thriving vole population.  Mmmmm, juicy, crunchy little voles.  Admittedly, I love to hang around the places that have lots of voles.  Easy pickings and easy meals.  But, it gets kind of crowded at those places, and when the skunks move in, it’s time to find someplace else.

Which is why I’m here.  You think you’ve done everything you could do to get your lawn ready for the winter.  But, when the snow comes, and lays down a blanket over your nicely cropped and hibernating grass, the voles come out to eat and play.  They make little tunnels that stay warm enough for their tiny little yummy bodies, and then they chomp through grass or dig tunnels just underground and munch on those flower bulbs you took so much time to plant.  You think you’re getting tulips and daffodils in the spring?  Think again.  I can tell you right now there’s enough voles hanging out in that layer between the snow and your yard that you’ll be lucky to get a flower or two to pop up.

And those voles think they’re so safe, because you’re not doing anything about vole removal.  They think they’re safe because we raccoons can’t see them as easily when they tunnel under the snow.  You won’t know they wintered at your place until the snow melts and you’re left with a yard full of trails of dead grass.  But, I still have ears, don’t I?  I can still hear them under the snow, rattling against a dead leaf your rake didn’t pick up or using their tiny paws to rustle through the grass.  It might be a little bit of work for me to pinpoint exactly where the vole is tunneling, but if I pay close enough attention and listen carefully enough, with enough patience, I can usually pounce on them.  My paws will grab them and I’ll snap them up, and you’ll have your vole removal done for you.

I don’t even charge anything.  Well, room and board, but what’s that for a raccoon?  I just need a place to hole up.  Maybe a warm place for me to have little raccoon babies in the spring.  And, when the vole removal’s all done, then I might be able to help myself to your garbage or pet’s food.  You won’t mind, will you?

Vole Problems

It’s been a long winter for us raccoons, and now that the snow is just starting to melt, I’m out strolling along the cover of the low woods next to human neighborhoods, watching for any signs of vole problems.

Yeah, as a raccoon, I eat just about anything.  Garbage and pet food pretty much got me through the winter, and sweet corn crops haven’t come up yet.  Right now, it’s the perfect season for spotting voles, and they are deeelicious!!  They’re all fattened up from eating grass roots and tree bark.  Over the winter, especially, they move through yards, golf courses or orchards virtually undetected by the humans, since they usually keep just below the snow line.  Most of their predators are eating somewhere else or are in hibernation, so they get all fat and juicy.  Perfect as an early spring feast for me!

The trick is, I wait until the weather finally warms up enough for the snow to start melting.  Sometimes I can actually see one of the tasty snacks running above ground, but more often I see the tell-tale signs as the snow melts:  trails of dead grass running through the lawn, trees with exposed rings around the bases, flowers and shrubs eaten away, the traces of last year’s vegetable garden completely consumed.  It’s pretty obvious when a home or business has a vole problem.

I wait until nighttime, when I get the hungriest and go out to forage for food.  I might roll over the garbage can for an appetizer, move onto the second course of pet food left out on the porch, take a brief nap and then move onto the final course.  I saunter out, sniffing, listening, and I find a hole with a little tiny scrabbling or rustling noise that I can barely hear.  Suddenly, I’ll start digging with my amazing paws, shoving my snout down into the hole that’s getting wider and wider by the second.  Then, quickly, SNAP!  My wonderfully sharp teeth close around the juicy little critter.

The great thing is, voles breed pretty quickly, so where there’s one, there’s more.  And other little yummies like to follow or use the vole’s burrows and trails – mice, rats, chipmunks.  It’s literally an all-you-can-eat buffet for me!  And now that I’m here, I might as well take up residence.  That building is pretty easy to get into, with a little bit of chewing and clawing, I should be able to get on in.  I bet I could make a pretty great den inside that chimney or up in the attic.  It’d be warm, there might even be a little insulation I can use for nesting materials, and there’s obviously plenty to eat here.  These humans have no idea, yet.  Their vole problem just became a raccoon problem.

How To Get Rid Of Voles

I just love these do-it-yourselfers who come in every year, right when the snow’s melted, and ask me “how do I get rid of voles from my yard?”  With all the new housing developments going up, I’m doing great business as the owner of the only yard supply store in the area.  I sell sprinkler systems, mulch, grass seed, and all kinds of traps for the local critters like voles, moles, mice and gophers that tear up the lawns around here.

As soon as the snows melt, people look out their windows and see a roadmap of dead grass in their yards.  If they look closer, they can see little holes spotting the lawn, or they might even catch a glimpse of a vole scampering through the grass.  I’ll admit, they’re cute little suckers, but anyone who spends time and money caring for their lawn doesn’t want all their work ruined by some little mouse-like wild animal making crooked little lines of dead grass all over their property.

Personally, I have to shake my head when someone comes in to ask me how to get rid of voles.  But, they’re happy to pay for the traps I sell them, and I’m a good businessman – won’t ever turn down a sale.  It’s just that voles can have four to six young per litter, and they have been known to have up to 17 litters per year.  So, yeah, I’ll sell a homeowner or landscaper a handful of vole traps, but it’ll only catch a handful of voles.  I’m happy to instruct them how to use them, which bait to use, and I’ll let them know that voles are active day and night, throughout the year.  They’re better off, though, if they call a professional who knows how to get rid of voles and does it all the time.  That’s really the best way to get all of them.

Until then, selling vole traps helps me to pay the lease for my store.

One guy came in with a story the other day about his cat catching a vole in his backyard.  As cats like to do, it brought the vole inside as a special “gift” for his owner.  His six-year-old little girl saw it first and actually picked it up before anyone stopped her.  Turns out the little rodent had a bloated tick on it, and was probably infested with all kinds of other parasites like mites.  It was still alive when his daughter brought it to him, even though the cat had chewed on it a bit.  I have to admit, the image made me gag, but I know it happens.  I actually suggested to him, the best way to get rid of voles is to call in a professional wildlife removal service.  Oh, and tell his daughter not to pick up any wild animals, but I’m sure he’d already told her that.

Get Rid of Voles

get rid of voles

Ring!  Ring!

Lizzie:  Hi, this is Lizzie.  We get rid of voles, moles and gophers in holes!  How may I help you?

Caller:  I’m desperate.  I’ve had my house on the market for a long time now, and I’ve even dropped the price.  It’s a really great house, and a lot of people are interested, but they want me to lower the price even more because of the yard.  I just can’t afford to lose any money.

Lizzie:  I’m happy you called.  Let’s see how we can help you.  You say there’s a problem with the yard?  What’s going on?

Caller:  There’s these dead spots all over the front and back yard.  Well, they’re not really dead spots, they’re more like dead trails.  Trails of dead grass all over the front yard and the back yard.  And, some of our really nice fruit trees are dying. 

Lizzie:  Uh, huh.  And, are there big piles of dirt everywhere?

Caller:  Not really, no.  It’s just these big, snaky trails all over.  Looks like a road map out there. 

Lizzie:  Have you seen large holes?

Caller:  Well, we’ve seen a couple of smallish holes.  Like, about the size of a quarter, or like someone shoved a broomstick at an angle into the ground.

Lizzie:  Sounds to me like you need our help to get rid of voles.

Caller:  Voles?  Aren’t those kind of like mice?  We have a nice house here, not a dirty . . .

Lizzie:  I’m sure your house is absolutely lovely!  Voles are a little bit like mice, but they generally don’t get into your home.  They like to stay in a yard that has a lot of tall grass or dense shrubbery.  Places for them to hide.

Caller:  Tall grass?  That explains it, I guess.  We had a lot of things going on, and I didn’t really mow the lawn down that much before the first big snow fall.  It was kind of long, but I didn’t think there’d be any problem. 

Lizzie:  They really do prefer the taller grasses, because they can tunnel around, stay warm, and stay out of sight of their natural predators.  They’ll burrow around in the grass under the snow, and chew through roots and eat bulbs if you’ve planted any.  They may also be responsible for your fruit trees dying.  Are there rings of bark missing around the base?

Caller:  Dang it all, yes!  Can you do anything?  I just have to sell this house!  We’re moving in a month and it’s got to be gone before then!

Lizzie:  We can certainly get rid of the voles, to prevent them from damaging your yard any further.  May I suggest a couple of good landscapers to repair the damage they’ve already caused?

Caller:  That’d be great.  How soon can you all get out here?